2012 Rolling Over the 100K
Part 3 of 10
Close to Heaven
From Christina Lake to Castlegar in the very heart of Southern BC the highways were a motorcyclists dream. It was my highway. I was all alone. There were no trucks or camper-wagons to slow me down. It was warm and dry with newly paved surfaces. The curves were challenging, exhilarating and just a little bit scary. I felt like I was the luckiest guy in the world. My Harley was performing so responsively that I began to hammer her really hard. In my fifty years of riding I have found that riding your bike hard, as long as the road quality is good, and there's no other traffic around or nearby intersections, makes them run even better. On this occasion, however, there was an unfortunate incident that turned out to be minor in nature but it could have been more serious. I heard a mysterious tinkle coming from my back-end so I instantly disengaged the clutch and slowed right down. I rubber-necked to see what was wrong but I couldn't find anything. The tinkling had stopped. The bike was fine so I continued on. The next time I took a rest-stop I got off the bike and I carefully inspected the back of the bike around the rear-wheel. One saddlebag strap was missing. I checked the remaining strap on the other side and it was fine. I continued heading east.
Surprise! Surprise!....I was roaring along Highway 3 when all of a sudden I came across a name I recognized instantly. I never expected to see a BC Provincial Park named after that very famous Olympic athlete, Nancy Greene. For those of you who may not be familiar with the name, Nancy Greene had an absolutely spectacular career in Alpine Skiing. Her achievements were out of this world. She's an Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist. She was named as the Olympic Ambassador for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and if that's not enough, Nancy Greene was honoured as Canada's “Female Athlete of the 20th Century”. She is now sitting as a Senator in Mr. Harper's Government. I stopped at the entrance to the Park and I took a look around. It was very early in the morning and the wrong time of day to think about staying over but the next time I'm out this way I'll make a point of camping here for a couple of days. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I found out more recently that she was actually born in Ottawa before she moved to BC as a child. I salute Nancy Greene for her impressive career in Canadian Skiing and for her outstanding achievements.
Close to Heaven
The rest of the day was motorcycle-touring at its very best. It was warm and sunny. The highway was dry and full of white-knuckle hairpin bends. It was as if the Harley and I had blended into a single unit. Her handling and manoeuvrability was excellent and rivalled the 750cc Triumph Bonneville I used to own. I called her “The Great Performer” My Bonnie was the all-time champion of great handling, but today, the Harley was a very close second. Once again, I had the empty highway all to myself. To the right of the highway there was a single train track where now and then a diesel freight-train could be seen at intervals through the patches of heavy under-brush. Each time I saw a gap in the trees I calculated that the train and I were going the same speed so I stood high on my mid-pedals and waved frantically at the engineer. As soon as he saw me he gave me a wave back and a blast of his whistle. I couldn't have been happier. Motorcycles, Trains and Ocean-going Ships, not little boats, have always fascinated me . I have to admit that I've always lamented the demise of the old steam trains which I spent many hours as a kid admiring by sitting at the side of the tracks and collecting their numbers. Having a powerful motorcycle between my legs; a speeding locomotive to my right; a clear dry road ahead and the sun high in the sky was about as close to heaven as I could possibly get in this life. Furthermore, I was spell-bound by the striking similarities between the countryside here in southern BC and that of Alaska in the summertime. There were fast-flowing shallow rivers weaving their way around rock-formations; wide-pebbled shores ideal for parking a camper-trailer for an overnight stay and an abundance of deer. It was breathtakingly beautiful. What more could I possibly ask for? ...This is why I do it – you know.